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7 Tips for Keeping Your Garbage Disposal in Top Shape

Vegetable scraps sitting in a sink before being run through the garbage disposal
7 Tips for Keeping Your Garbage Disposal in Top Shape

Have you ever been in the middle of cleaning up after a chaotic dinner with your family, only to have your garbage disposal grind to a halt? The leftover dirty dishes in the sink seemed to mock you as it sank in that you were in for an even longer night. If you’ve ever dealt with a malfunctioning garbage disposal, you know how important it is to keep this appliance properly maintained. Check out these seven tips for keeping your garbage disposal in top shape and save yourself time, money, and frustration:

Run Cold Water During and After Use

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to maintain your garbage disposal is to always run cold water when grinding food scraps. Cold water solidifies any fats or oils, allowing them to be chopped up before reaching the trap, where they could solidify and cause blockages. It’s also beneficial to let the water run for about 15 seconds after shutting off the disposal to ensure all waste is flushed through the drain pipes.

Cut Scraps Into Smaller Pieces

While garbage disposals are designed to handle food scraps, they are not indestructible. To use your garbage disposal properly, cut larger items into smaller pieces before feeding them into the unit. This not only makes it easier for the disposal to grind up waste but also helps prevent jams and extends the life of the motor.

Avoid Non-Food Items

Non-food items can damage the blades and motor of your garbage disposal. To avoid unnecessary repairs, ensure that only biodegradable food items are placed in the disposal. Hard objects, like bones, plastic wrappers, and metal utensils, can cause significant damage and should be disposed of in the trash.

Know What Should NOT Go in the Disposal

While it may seem straightforward to not put non-food items down the drain, it may surprise you to learn that there are some food items that should also go in the trash rather than your disposal system:

  • Avoid disposing of fibrous materials like celery stalks, onion skins, and corn husks, as they can entangle the blades.
  • Coffee grounds, eggshells, and potato peels should also be avoided, as they can create blockages in the pipes.
  • Greasy or oily substances should never be poured down your disposal. These substances can coat the blades and the interior of the disposal, reducing its efficiency and eventually leading to clogs as the grease solidifies. Instead, wipe greasy pans with a paper towel before washing them and dispose of the oil in the trash.

Clean Your Garbage Disposal Regularly

Regular cleaning is an integral part of garbage disposal maintenance. One of the best ways to clean your disposal system is to freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and grind them in your disposal. The ice helps sharpen the blades, while the vinegar neutralizes odors and cleans the unit. For a fresher scent, you can also grind citrus peels, such as lemon or orange, which will leave your disposal smelling fresh.

If you suspect your garbage disposal needs a deeper clean, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar, into the disposal. Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes before flushing it down with hot water. This not only cleans but also deodorizes your disposal, tackling any unpleasant smells that may have accumulated over time.

Perform Routine Maintenance Checks

Occasionally, your garbage disposal will let you know when something isn’t quite right. Make sure you keep an eye (or ear) out for problems. For example, listen for unusual noises, check for leaks, and make sure the disposal is operating smoothly. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it may be time to schedule professional garbage disposal services before the problem worsens.

Schedule Drain Cleaning Services

Even with meticulous maintenance, your disposal and drains might require professional attention at some point. Professional drain cleaning can remove deeper clogs and buildup that home maintenance can’t address. This service ensures your disposal works efficiently and can prevent future problems.

Dispose of Your Problems Today!

By following these garbage disposal maintenance tips, you can effectively prevent common issues that lead to breakdowns. If you’re currently dealing with a malfunctioning disposal system, schedule a service with Skagit Plumbing. Our team of professionals can provide comprehensive repair and replacement services, so you can trust your disposal will run smoothly for years to come.